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AriEmeraldstar
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PostSubject: Title Pending   Tue Jan 22, 2008 12:36 am

Well, here it is! My first story post on this site! It's a Pokemon fanfic, which I'm co-writing with Matkin22 -- to anyone else, PLEASE don't think this is an RPG and continue it yourselves! It's just a co-written fanfic, that's all. Matkin22's the ONLY other person allowed to advance this story, but reviews are welcome! Just follow the guidelines in the Rules section of this site, and everything will be just fine. Enjoy!

The sun was beginning to set over Route 209, turning the landscape into something resembling a burning painting. The tall grasses shone with a flaming orange, their tips brushed with pure gold, while the rivers and streams of the watery route were dyed a passionate red. Majestic trees were reduced to nothing more than silhouettes outlined in brightness.

Despite the beauty, Ash Ketchum sighed as he watched the sun set. To him, all it meant was another night of camping out. ‘There’s only so much natural beauty a guy can take before he starts missing a real bed again...’

“Pi-kaaa...”

Ash turned his head and placed a comforting hand on Pikachu’s head. He knew Pikachu was thinking the exact same thing he was. “I know, Pikachu, but it’s just one more night before we get to Solaceon Town.”

“But that means one more night out here, Ash!” May replied, also sighing. “Maybe you haven’t noticed, but it’s going to be winter soon – and might I remind you that Sinnoh is the northernmost region we’ve been to so far? That means only one thing to me – it’s cold.”

Ash gave a lopsided smile at his friend, newly come from the contest circuit in Johto. May simply wasn’t used to the climate of the Sinnoh region, not after traveling for so long in Kanto and Johto, and certainly not after being born and raised in the Hoenn region, the warmest region Ash knew of (aside from the tropical Orange Islands). Ash had been in the Sinnoh region a bit longer, and had simply had more time to adjust to it.

He had long since earned all eight badges of the Sinnoh region, defeating Volkner for his eighth about eight months ago. However, that had been just after the Sinnoh League had been held – the next one wouldn’t be held until the following year. Brock had wanted to spend some time back at the library in Canalave, and wanted Ash to come with him. Iron Island, he’d said, would be a perfect place to train for the League. Dawn had refused, wanting to spend more time in Hearthome City for contest training.

Convinced, Ash boarded a ferry with him out of Sunnyshore, a special one which only ran from Canalave up to Snowpoint City, then back down to Sunnyshore before completing the circuit around the region. He had been shocked to see a large, trans-region ship docking into Canalave at the same time, and was even more surprised to see May disembarking it. The trio had, just like old times, been traveling around ever since, though only to May’s contests. Now they were on their way to Solaceon Town, where May wanted to see how if newly-aquired and bad-tempered Glameow might do any better at the Day-Care Center there.

“So where are we spending the night, Brock?” Ash asked, causing Pikachu’s ears to perk up expectantly.

Brock, sitting on a rock nearby, unfolded the map again. “Well, the Lost Tower’s just up ahead, and that’ll at least give us a roof.”

May shuddered slightly, and Ash wasn’t any fonder of the idea of spending another night in a tower full of ghost pokemon, like he had done so long ago when he had first started out. Even Pikachu seemed to remember that night, as he cringed on Ash’s shoulder and shivered. “Any other options, Brock?”

“Besides camping? Not really.” Brock replied gently, but bluntly, as he stood. “Come on, let’s keep heading that way anyway. We might find something that’s not on the map.” Grudgingly, the other two also stood and began to follow the elder breeder.

It was about ten minutes later that they reached the tower, and with it, their marker proclaiming the last five miles before Solaceon Town. “Well, here’s the tower.” Ash remarked. “So, do we push on, or – hey! Pikachu! Come back!”

Pikachu had been half-asleep on Ash’s shoulder during the ride, but now, he was intrigued. There was pokemon-scent in the air, and lots of different kinds, too. That could only mean a trainer, but a trainer with this many pokemon couldn’t be traveling. There were far more than six pokemon in those woods, he was sure. So Pikachu bounded off Ash’s shoulder, dashing straight for the woods beyond the tower.

With cries of surprise and alarm, the trio took off after Pikachu, dodging through the thick undergrowth for about fifty yards before they hit an old, but clearly still usable, trail. Pikachu was sitting on it, waiting for them. As soon as they burst into view, Pikachu flicked his tail and pointed down the path. “Chuuu, Pi-ka!”

Ash bent down, scooping Pikachu up in his arms before looking down the path where Pikachu had been pointing. “What do you think?”

“Well, Pikachu seems to think it’s safe.” May said slowly. “And from the looks of it, I’d guess someone lived down this way.”

“Yeah, but someone who lives this far off the beaten path also probably doesn’t want to be disturbed.” Brock warned.

“Aw, come on, Brock – let’s give it a try.” May pleaded. “Worst case scenario, we camp out, and that’ll be better than spending the night in that creepy old tower.”

Brock looked over at Ash, who shrugged. “Pikachu seems to think we should go, so I’ll trust him.”

Brock sighed. “All right then...let’s get going.


Night had fully claimed the land by the time the trio broke out of the woods. Where once was orange and gold, now there was rich blues and violets, and a nearby river seemed to have diamonds littering it’s bottom. The sky itself appeared pitch-black, with bright pinholes of light poked in it. There was no moon that night to light the large, open space they appeared in.

The first thing they noticed, much to their delight, was a modestly-sized, two storey house, with several of the lower floor’s lights on, as well as one of the upper storey’s. Behind it was a fenced in area, but it was absolutely huge. The wooden fence extended even across the river and back slightly into the forest. ‘Looks like a ranch of some sort.’ Ash thought, and even as he thought it, the large, blocky shape of a barn caught his eye.

“Think anyone’s around?” May whispered.

A low growl suddenly emerged from the trees to their right, and Pikachu leapt of Ash’s shoulder, cheeks crackling with electricity, fur stiffened, and tail raised.

A figure stepped out of the shadowy gloom, then another. It was a woman, who looked to be around two years older than Ash’s own eighteen years, around the same age as Brock. She was fairly short, too, maybe five three or somewhere thereabouts. Her skin was dark, but her hair was long and red-blonde in color. Hard, emerald green eyes were so cold and calculating that Ash got a chill down his spine just looking at them.

The woman put her hand at the base of her Houndoom’s neck, silencing it’s growl. “What are you kids doing on my property?” she asked, with no trace of emotion.

“L-looking for someplace to spend the night.” Ash replied. The woman snuffed.

“Trainers. It figures.”

“Ma’am, if you tell us to, we’ll be happy to leave right now.” Brock presented, strangely not becoming instantly infatuated with this woman as he did so many others. Ash thought it was probably her cold confidence that froze him before he even got warmed up. “Won’t we, guys?” the former gym leader continued, giving Ash and May a look.

The woman sighed, and Ash thought he heard her mutter something like “I must be going insane...” before she answered them. “I must be out of my mind for saying yes, but what the hell? You can stay the night.”

“Th-thank you!” May stuttered, surprised. The woman waved a hand.

“No trouble, I guess. A helping hand must always be helpful for a trainer. Just introduce yourselves to Cerbera, here.” She gestured down at the Houndoom standing patiently at her side. “Just hold the back of your hand out to her and let her sniff it – if she doesn’t like you, you aren’t staying.”

Pikachu was the first to approach the larger pokemon, who bent down to make her inspection. With a final whuff, she licked the top of Pikachu’s head gently and looked back up at the woman, barking once.

Seeming to understand her pokemon’s bark as a sign of passage for the trainers, based on the Pikachu, the woman nodded. “All right then – come on. The house is this way.”

Ash smiled, scooping Pikachu back up. “Thanks again, uh...”

“Laura.” the woman replied. “Name’s Laura Cooper. You three can introduce yourselves inside, where it’s warm.”

May almost squealed at the mention of warmth, and was the first to follow behind Laura and Cerbera into the house.

It was a cozy place, but at the same time seemed to hold a great loneliness. Inside, Laura shed her long black coat, revealing a blue shirt, jeans, and working shoes. “So...what are your names, then?”


Last edited by on Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Title Pending   Thu Jan 24, 2008 12:31 am

Nice start, Ari! Sorry for my long delay in posting this next part; my exams start in a couple of days and I've only had a couple minutes every day where I haven't been studying. Excuses, I know, but I'll soon be finished and then able to work on this properly!

"My name's Ash, and I'm from Pallet Town in Kanto," Ash answered, proffering his hand. Laura ignored it, her piercing emerald eyes switching their attention to May.

"I'm May," she said a little nervously, "and I'm from Petalburg City."

"Petalburg," Laura repeated softly, the hard expression in her face momentarily flickering. She shook her head and quickly turned to Brock. "And you are?" she asked.

"I'm Brock from Pewter City, and I'm trying to become a Pokemon breeder," he said. Laura gave him a tight, wry smile.

"A breeder, eh?" she asked. "I do a bit of breeding here myself."

"Pika pi!" Pikachu piped out, not wanting to be left out of the introductions; Laura ignored it.

"I've got a bit of a problem with one of my Tauros," she said to Brock. "It doesn't seem to want to run around with the rest of the herd, and it hasn't left the barn in a week. I've tried everything I can think of to get it running again, but nothing will work."

"A sick Tauros?" Brock asked, frowning. "I've never worked with a Tauros before, I don't know if there's much that I'll be able to do."

"I'm sure you'll be able to figure out something," Laura replied, grabbing him by the arm and dragging him towards the door. She shoved Brock outside and turned back to Ash and May warningly.

"Don't touch anything and don't fool around," she growled. "I don't want to come back in and find my couch soiled by a couple of teens."

"S-soiled?" May spluttered, not quite believing what she'd just heard. Laura ignored her and slammed the door shut; through the rattling glass they heard her whistle for Cerbera who had remained on guard outside.

"Soiled?" May repeated disbelievingly again. Ash looked at her strangely.

"What's the big deal?" he asked. "She just doesn't want us to get her couch dirty with dust from the road."

"And he still doesn't get it," May muttered under her breath.

"Pika," Pikachu agreed as it gently smacked it's forehead, mocking Ash's obliviousness. Ash ignored both of them, glancing around the house.

"Wow," he said, "if I didn't know any better I'd think I was back in the Old Chateau." May's gaze followed his, her eyes roaming around the house. The wide room they stood in was brightly lit, but the doorways at the far side were wreathed in deep shadow. Thin layers of dust lay on the furniture's surfaces, interrupted only by the occassional ring on the table where a glass may have recently sat. A damp atmosphere pervaded the house, and May shivered with a sudden chill that had nothing to do with the dropping temperature outside.

"It almost looks as if it's been deserted for a long time," she agreed. She shivered at a sudden soft touch to her arm; turning she found herself staring into a two large white eyes wreathed in a billowing purple flame. "ASH! she screamed, leaping backwards in a panic. Ash whirled at her shout, his hand automatically reaching for his belt as May ducked behind his arms, grabbing his shoulders tightly.

"Pi..." Pikachu growled, jumping forwards with it's red cheeks sizzling. The two white eyes widened, and then lowered towards the ground, gaining a creased look. Pikachu and May looked on in bewilderment at the sad expression, while Ash merely chuckled.

"What's so funny," May whispered, still trembling from her fright.

"It's only a Gastly," he answered, stepping forwards towards the two large eyes. They immediately brightened at his approach and the Pokemon moved forwards, it's outline shimmering slightly as it's true form was revealed.

"And I thought we were trying to avoid Ghost-types," May muttered. The door clanged open and Laura stormed inside, glaring at Ash and May accusingly.

"What's all this racket about?" she demanded. "I've got a sick Pokemon in the barn, and all of the screaming is getting really distracting!"

"Your Gastly was just introducing itself to us," Ash said with a smile.

"Is that it?" Laura snorted. She moved back towards the door, glowering over her shoulder at all four of them as she went. "Try to keep the noise level down to a minimum," she said sarcastically, slamming the door as she left. Ash, May, Pikachu, and the Gastly looked at the door, too surprised to move.

"That woman," May said at last, "has a real attitude problem."
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PostSubject: Re: Title Pending   Tue Jan 29, 2008 1:16 am

Larua sighed, leaning against her door after closing it and closing her eyes, letting her head thump back against the wood. She really shouldn't be yelling at those kids like that, she knew. But it had been a long day, and even longer since she'd had visitors. And that girl...she said she was from Peatalburg. Hoenn.

Her eyes opened when she heard Cerbera whine as she trotted out from the barn. Now was not the time to be thinking about that. "Coming, girl." she called tiredly, heaving herself off the door and starting off toward the barn.

The Tauros which Brock knelt beside lifted his head and lowed weakly as she entered. Laura went straight over to him, also kneeling beside him. "Shh, Panic...it's all right. Everything's going to be okay." she whispered, cradling his head and stroking it comfortingly.

Brock stood, dusting his hands lightly. "His name's Panic?" Laura nodded, opening her eyes and looking up at the breeder. "Well, then, I'm pretty sure Panic's going to be all right. He's not seriously ill -- if I had to liken it to something, it would be a cold. I've got some special food in my bag I'd like to recommend, along with keeping him warm and well hydrated. What worries me more is your other pokemon -- he might have spread it to them, particularaly those in his herd. Have any other of your pokemon been showing his symptoms?"

Laura rose immidiately to get a blanket. A soft growl sounded form the direction she was heading -- a Mightyena, asleep on the blanket she wanted. He grumbled a bit when Laura nuged him with her toe, but nonetheless rose and stalked off to find a new place to sleep. "I've got a Rapidash and a couple Ponyta that stall in here when it's cold out." she replied as she walked back toward Brock and spread the blanket carefully over Panic. "Yena, the Mightyena you just saw, likes to hang around here as well. I've got a pack of Eevee and various evolutions, but they like to stay in the barn down by the lake...they've been known to come in here too, though. Levi, my Meowth, likes to prowl around at night -- I don't know where she is now. I've got two or three Growlithe and a Vulpix who like to den here, and my birds like to roost in this one. And there's Cerbera, of course -- she goes where I go." she added, patting her faithful Houndoom affectionately. Cerbera seemed to smile up at her trainer as she wagged her rope-like tail. "As far as I've noticed, though, none of them have been acting strange."

Brock gave a low whistle. "That's a lot of pokemon."

Larua shrugged. "Not really. There's a lot more, trust me. They've just accumulated over time, so it never seemed like a lot before. Brock, may I ask you to please stay, until Panic is better? I'd be greatly in your debt."

"Of course." Brock replied as Laura turned down the lamps and they headed back toward her house. "You're very devoted to your pokemon, aren't you Ms. Cooper? If you don't mind me asking."

Laura was silent for a moment, her eyes trained ahead. "Who am I to deny another living being?" she finally replied. "I care for them as best I can when they're sick, give them what love and affection I have, and protect them from everything I can. In turn, they stay here and keep me company, protecting me as best they can when I need it, and sometimes working when I ask them to. We're close."

Brock nodded, not responding. This Laura person wasn't so bad, he decided. Just anti-social, with people anyway. He had a feeling that it had taken a lot for her to ask him to stay and care for Panic, and he decided right then to make it as easy for her as possible.


He knew that that would be a difficult promise to keep. He knew it as soon as he and Laura reached the house. A Haunter had appeared, drifting off in a corner of the room. He had apparently startled May, who had backed up into a desk, knocking one of her pokeballs and releasing the pokemon inside. Unluckily, it was her Glameow. She had immediately scratched May's leg, which was bleeding profusely, and then proceeded to go after Pikachu. Ash was torn between protecting Pikachu and staying by May's side, trying to stop the blood. A Meowth -- this must be Levi -- appeared to be acting as a keeper of the peace in the household that night, and had pounced on Glameow. The two cats were now scrapping noisily on the floor, Glameow being extremely rough. Both Ash and May looked up in horror when Laura entered the room, as though afriad that she would smite them down with lightning.

Laura almost looked as though she was ready to do just that. Her muscles tensed, fists clenching, and Brock even thought he saw one of them tremble lightly in rage. Amazingly, she calmed herself, and raised her head. "Rai!"

A Pikachu stuck it's head out from atop a bookshelf with an inquiring "Chuu?" Laura nodded down towards the cats, and the Pikachu flicked it's tail, jumping down and bracing himself as his cheeks began crackling. In a flash, the room smelled of burned fur. Levi and May's Glameow froze, charred slightly. The Pikachu raised his head somewhat proudly, turning to jump towards Laura, who caught him in her arms. His slightly tattered tail and ear tips spoke either of great age or hard battling -- it was hard to tell.

"Thanks, Rai." Laura said, stroking the Pikachu's head softly before turning to May, who blanched deathly white. "Is this your Glameow?" Laura asked calmly. May nodded shakily, as if too frightened to speak.

"It wasn't her fault!" Ash broke out. "She only just caught it, and it's got a really bad temper -- !"

Laura raised a hand, silencing him. "May, please recall your pokemon, and then I'll clean you up in the bathroom. Since Brock's agreed to stay and help me take care of my Tauros, I'll assume it's a package deal and you'll be staying as well. I'm not angry, and I should apologize for my behavior earlier. It's been an extremely long time since I've had gueasts, and I'm a bit rusty in the hospitality department. Brock, will you please fill Ash in as I clean up May?"

May rose, letting Laura support her as she called her Glameow back. Rai, seeming to sense that he was no longer needed, hopped down and began introducing himself to Ash's Pikachu. "It's all right." May replied as Brock nodded and the girls headed off toward the bathroom. "I'm sorry, though. Your Haunter startled me, and I accidentally let Glameow out."

"Gaspar? Now I should apologize -- he likes to scare everyone when he can. I'm sorry I didn't warn you. Now, sit right here. I've got some alcohol and bandages under the sink. After I've patched you up, maybe you can let me take a look at your Glameow."

May hesitated a moment, then nodded. "Sure."
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PostSubject: Re: Title Pending   Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:38 am

Here we go with Chapter 4. It's a couple of weeks late, but hopefully what happens will make up for the delay!

May winced as Laura gently, but firmly, applied the stinging alcoholic salve to her slashed leg, and tightly wrapped a bandage around the injury. She stood, up, testing the leg gently. It twinged, but she could walk without too much discomfort. At least it isn't bleeding now she thought privately. She looked up into Laura's expressionless face and felt suddenly nervous.

"Thanks for getting me cleaned up," she managed to say. Laura nodded slowly.

"Not a problem. Brock's helping my Tauros so I figure that means tit-for-tat. Now, lets take a look at your Glameow."

"Don't you want to check on your Meowth first?" May asked. "It got shocked too."

“Who, Levi?” Laura responded. “She gets shocked at least twice a day. She just loves chasing Rai around the house.” At this, she actually let out a small chuckle, her eyes suddenly growing distant. “It used to drive him mad,” she sighed.

“Drive who mad?” May asked curiously. Laura froze, her austere expression quickly returning to her face.

“Never you mind,” she said coldly. “Are you going to let me take a look at your Glameow or not?” May looked into Laura’s stern eyes and could see that the conversation was over. She nodded and handed the Poke Ball over to her, before standing and moving to the door with minor difficulty.

“Thank you again for taking care of my leg,” she said.

“Mrph,” Laura murmured, barely sparing a glance for the young Co-ordinator as she examined the Poke Ball intently. May sighed and left the room, glad to get away from the woman.

What’s with her? she wondered. She seemed so nice a moment ago, but as soon as I asked her a question… She grimaced and shook her head, wandering into the main room. I’ll be glad to leave here, she thought. It’s been nothing but unpleasant since we got here. I really hope that her Tauros is better tomorrow so we can just go.

“You don’t really mean that, do you May?” Brock asked.

“Ahhh!” May screamed, grasping at her heart in surprise. She whirled on the breeder who sat relaxed on a couch at the other end of the room. “Don’t scare me like that!” she shouted. Brock grinned and held up his hands.

“Easy, easy. I didn’t mean to surprise you,” he said.

“Well you sure did a good job of it!” May shot back. She took a few deep breaths, trying to calm her racing heart. Then she realized just what Brock had said that scared her, and groaned. “Please tell me I didn’t say that out loud…” she muttered, sitting down in a plush armchair with her head in her hands.

“You didn’t have to,” Brock said, “it was written all over your face.” A light frown came to his face. “You really shouldn’t think that way, May. Laura just isn’t used to having any guests, and it’s a real strain on her. You shouldn’t be surprised if she’s a little, um… cold, towards us.” May sighed and looked up at him.

“I know Brock, and I am glad that we’ll be in beds tonight instead of a field, but she could still be a little nicer, couldn’t she?” She sighed again and suddenly realized someone was missing. “Hey, where’s Ash?” she asked. Brock nodded towards the door.

“He went outside to train again. You know how much he wants to win the Sinnoh Championship and challenge the Elite Four. It was just plain bad luck that he didn’t get that last badge in time to qualify, especially since Paul made it all the way to the semi-finals.”

“He really wants to beat him next year, doesn’t he?” May smiled, standing up with a light stretch. “I think that I’ll go out and train with him actually. I haven’t sparred in a while, and it’ll feel good to get some practice in.” Brock nodded approvingly.

“That’s the spirit! A little battling and your spirits will be up again in no time! And May..?” She paused and turned back to him, her handle on the doorknob.

“Yeah?” she asked.

“Don’t worry about Laura, or your last two Contests either,” he said gently. “A little boost, and things will be back to normal before you know it.” May stared at him for a moment before flashing a quick, tight smile, and hurrying out the door. It closed with a click and Brock leant back on the couch, feeling suddenly tired. “It’s exhausting trying to take care of Ash’s morale, May’s sensitivity, Laura’s introvertness, and a sick Tauros,” he grumbled to himself.

“Ghaaasss,” an eerie voice agreed from behind his shoulder.

“Haunta-haunt,” a second voice concurred in his ear.

“Whhargh!” Brock screamed, leaping up and running out of the house in terror. Laura’s Gastly and Haunter looked at each and chuckled at a prank well-pulled.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Sceptile, use Bullet Seed! Grotle, counter it with your Razor Leaf!” Ash shouted.

“Sceeeeep,” the powerful grass-type from Hoenn growled, shooting out several forceful blasts of glowing green seeds.

“Gro-o-o-o-o…” Grotle groaned, a flurry of razor-sharp leaves blasting from the bushes on it’s back. The two attacks collided in mid-air, exploding on contact. Grotle started to grin when a sudden hail of seeds emerged from the smoke and struck it on the head, driving the grass-type back with a slight yelp of pain.

“Grotle, are you alright?” Ash called.

“Otle gro,” it affirmed, shaking it’s head to clear away the impact and looking over at it’s towering opponent with defiance.

“Great, lets try that again!” Ash said happily. “Remember, Grotle, just because the attacks hit each other instead of the opponent, it doesn’t mean that you automatically stop them. You have to assume that the opponent will keep attacking too! Ready? Sceptile, Bullet Seed and Grotle use Razor Leaf!”

Grotle grinned and waited for Sceptile to launch it’s attack. The fully-evolved starter shot a cloud of green seeds at Grotle, who began to glow green. Leaves began to swirl around it, forming into a powerful vortex. The Bullet Seed was deflected by the rapidly-swirling leaves, which then charged towards Sceptile, capturing it completely off-guard.

“Leaf Blade it!” Ash ordered, and Sceptile swung a glowing green blade at the vortex. The two attacks collided, the Leaf Blade slicing through the maelstrom of leaves and dissipating it entirely. Ash and Sceptile both stared at the rather smug Grotle in perplexity. “Was that… Leaf Storm?” he wondered.

“Sure looked like it to me,” May said, walking out of the shadows to stand next to him.

“Hey May, all patched up?” he asked, looking at her bandaged leg.

“Yeah, thankfully. She’s looking at Glameow now; I hope that it’ll be okay, Rai gave it a really nasty jolt.”

“I really want to battle that Pikachu,” Ash sighed, a look of longing on his face. “You can tell just by looking at it how experienced and powerful it is. The attack it used made my hair stand on end! I know that Pikachu and I could learn a lot by battling it.”

“How about trying me on instead?” May asked. “I haven’t battled in a while, and my Pokemon are crying out for some practice.”

“I’d love to,” Ash grinned. “How do you want to do it?”

“Is a two-on-two double battle okay with you?” May asked.

“Absolutely! Since they’re already out, I’ll use Sceptile and Grotle.”

“Then I’ll go with Espeon and Squirtle!” May decided, calling her two Pokemon forward. “You ready Ash?” she asked.

“Always,” he laughed. “Sceptile, Bullet Seed on Squirtle and Grotle, Bite Espeon!”

“Block that Bullet Seed with your Psybeam, Espeon; Squirtle, use Ice Beam!” May shouted.

The Bullet Seed and Psybeam collided, seeds and streams of glowing light shooting off haphazardly in all directions. Grotle dodged both attacks and ran in close towards Espeon, before the Ice Beam smashed into it’s side. Winded, it was forced backwards from the impact and looked at the water-type with an aggravated eye.

“STOP!” a voice roared. Ash, May, and their Pokemon all turned towards the source of the voice, cringing at the ferocity of it.

“Oh no,” May moaned when she realized that it was Laura. She looked at them all thunderously, Cerbera growling softly at her side.

“Just what are you doing?” she asked, her voice dangerously low.

“We were just practicing,” Ash said defensively. “I need to train for the Sinnoh League, and May wanted some more practice for her Contests.”

“Contests?” Laura asked sharply, her gaze resting on May. “You’re a Coordinator?”

“Not a very good one recently,” she admitted. “I used to be okay though.”

“Okay?” Ash asked in disbelief. “May, you made it to the Hoenn Grand Festival in your first year, and made it to the top 8 in the Kanto Festival. You’re more than okay!”

“Why do you say that you aren’t very good?” Laura asked interestedly.

“It’s a long story,” May muttered, not very interested in telling any tales of woe.

“It’s a long night,” Laura retorted. ‘Now you just sit yourself down and tell me what’s been going wrong.”
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PostSubject: Re: Title Pending   Sun Feb 24, 2008 9:22 pm

All right, I know it's been a while since this has been updated. Trust me, that's from lack of time, not ideas! Hopefully, chapter 5 will keep you all interested. Enjoy!

May bowed her head and scuffed her foot against the ground, trying to figure out a way to avoid confessing her failures to this woman. It wasn't that she was telling them to a stranger, but even Ash and Brock didn't know the full story. The truth was, she had also failed in the Johto circut, winning only two ribbons. Even those wins had been flukes, with one of her opponents being disqualified for using illegal moves and the other dropping out just before their match in Ecruteak Ctiy when he got news that his wife in Azalea Town was having a baby. To tell Laura all this, when she hadn't even trusted Ash and Brock enough to...she just couldn't do it. Especially not to Ash, who was her biggest supporter, always in the stands cheering the loudest for her, and comforting her when she had lost here in Sinnoh. Sapphire eyes closed tight, hidden by a veil of her hair. She couldn't reveal that she hadn't trusted him.

Cerbera whined pawing slightly at Laura and causing May to look up. Ash was recalling his pokemon, and Laura glanced at her watch and appeared to swear under her breath. "All right, girl, I'm sorry...I know we're usually asleep long before this." she said with a sigh, laying a hand heavily on Cerbera's head. "Well, come on then. I believe you lot came here for a place to sleep, right? Just because I'm not getting any doesn't mean you shouldn't. Now, bed."

May let out the breath she had unconsciously been holding, relieved that she didn't have to say anything, and fell into step behind Laura, with Ash and Brock flanking her.

"Hey May, we'll battle tomorrow, all right?" Ash asked, grinning.

May nodded. "Sure."

"Don't know when you'll find the time." Luara commented. "You two are gonna be helping me out around this place in the morning, and running this place is a 24-hour job." Cerbera barked in agreement as they entered the house, then barked happily again, bounding over to the group of three Pikachu playing in the middle of the room to join them.

Ash's Pikachu, seeing him, perked his ears and stood. "Chu ka, ka pi pi pi!" he explained to the other two before jumping up into Ash's arms and causing his trainer to laugh. One of the other Pikachu, Rai, didn't throw them more than a second glance before he and Cerbera began to converse amongst themselves. The third Pikachu, however, smiled and also ran over to Ash, though he tripped and rolled head over heels in the process, coming to rest at the trainer's feet. This new Pikachu was signifigantly smaller than Rai, and he also appeared to be younger, with no tatters on his ears or tail.

"Who's this?" Brock asked, kneeling down and offering his palm to the new Pikachu.

"Hm? Oh, that's Buster." Laura said. "He's the resident goofball, but an excellent battler. He's reached a level of strength and control to rival that even of Rai, who's many years his senior."

"Wow, really?" Ash asked, also kneeling to introduce himself. "You know, Piakchu and I would love to battle one of your Pikachu, Ms. Cooper! Would that be all right?"

Laura shrugged. "All right then. Let's see how tomorrow goes, and after all the work, we'll see if there's time for us to battle. You and May can have your contest battle too."

May didn't miss the bitterness in Laura's voice at the word 'contest.' "You don't like contests, Ms. Cooper?"

Laura snorted, turning her back on them to gather Rai up in her arms. "In my opinion, Coordinators aren't real trainers. They're just people who can't train pokemon, but still want to make themselves feel important with them. As for contests themselves..." She gave another small snort. "Worthless displays of cheap entertainment for the ignorant, drooling masses."

May stood stunned. As important as contests were to her, it was inconcievable that anyone else could feel that way about them! And...even if coordinators weren't real trainers...what did that say about her? "How...how can you...?"

"Let me ask you something, May." Laura said cooly, turning around to fix her hard emerald eyes on May's and hold her in place. "If you were in danger -- I mean, real, true, life-threataning danger -- would your pokemon be able to protect you if all they knew were moves designed to look pretty? Would they be able to overpower the danger and save you? Or would they merely make the danger go away by falling on it's back laughing at their incompetence?"'

"I...I..."

"I'll tell you the answer now. They couldn't." Cerbera growled slightly, obviously in agreement with her mistress.

May was on the verge of tears, her vision swimming and hands shaking. Barely aware of anything else, she ran for a door she could see that led out behind the house from the kitchen, sobbing. She ran on and on, stumbling over rocks she couldn't see amid the tall, waving grass, and nearly ran straight into a deep lake, stumbling back just in time. Her sobbing had stopped, but only because she was out of breath, and it soon resumed as she curled up at the base of a giant tree. She didn't notice the eyes of pokemon, both in the water and in the tree, that stared curiously out at this strange new human who had disturbed their rest, and wouldn't have cared if she did. All she saw were her gloved hands, which she had buried her face into, and the sneer on Laura's face as she tore down everything that had been important in May's world.
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